If you do a lot of walking through your yard, like from the house to the garden or garage, chances are you already have a little dirt pathway leading to those spots. We have two such areas in my yard, each leading through a hedge to my parent’s yard. One path leads for our front door to their back door. We did a lot of visiting back and forth during the last 14 years. Had we been thinking, we could have installed a pathway that wouldn’t get muddy every time it rained.
One of the most popular choices is gravel or crushed rock. Gravel is not only cheap, but it is simple to apply on any garden path that you choose to make. You can get gravel in many different sizes and grades. Depending on the kind of path you want to make, you need to buy the appropriate size gravel. For just a general walk way use 10mm, 14mm or 20mm. You also have the choice between single sized gravel and graded product. Again, it depends on what sort of traffic the walkway will experience. If you are going to use the path to push a cart or pull a wheelbarrow, then graded is a better choice of material, because there are a bigger variety of particle sizes that will hold up under the wheels. Generally, single sized gravel works great foot traffic.
Paving slabs are another choice. With paving slabs, you will need to dig them into the ground. Paving stones work well in patio areas where people gather to sit. They can also work in areas that will receive a lot of traffic. They hold up well for many years and are easy to keep clean. You can simply sweep them clean or use a water hose.
Wood is a good choice and it makes the effect more earthy feeling. There is something about walking over a wooden sidewalk or path, especially when there is a bridge to cross that makes it feel you are being transported back in time. There is a feeling of peace that comes along with a wooden pathway . My dad built one when we lived in a trailer house. That has been over 20 years ago and parts of the wooden sidewalk are still there. They are low enough to the ground that I can mow over the top of them with no problem. The one drawback is that wood can become a slick surface to walk on when wet. Some people tack wire netting over the deck or pathway to prevent it being slippery. If you have a power washer, wash the wood surface twice a year as this will also help prevent the surface from becoming slippery. If you paint the wood walkway, they do sell an additive that you add into the paint. This provides your shoes some grip as you walk across.
Cobbled sets are decorative pieces to walk on. Not generally used for areas with a lot of traffic, but if you like to stroll leisurely toward your garden retreat, then they are a good choice. Cobbled sets are more for decoration than anything else and not as practical to use for a walk pathway in constant use. Another type of decorative stone is the york stone. Although pretty and decorative in seating areas, it is a poor choice for pathways during the winter months. They can become very slippery when wet.
Bark is more of a mulch material than it is for pathways, but some people use it anyway. Bark works well as a temporary pathway. If your pathway is mostly shade, you’ll find that the bark won’t turn green, as many other pathway surfaces do when the weather is rainy and humid. You will need to replenish them because bark will break down and decomposes into the ground.
Many people, myself included, use brick for a walkway. You can lay the bricks out to make different patterns if you have the time and don’t mind the work. Some bricks last longer than others do. The engineering bricks tend to last longer as a pathway. You can use ordinary house bricks, but they may break down when exposed to big fluctuations of hot and cold temperatures of the environment. For my little walkway, I simply dug into the ground so that the bricks would be flush with the ground’s surface. Some still have the mortar in places, but they have held up for years. Occasionally weeds will grow between the bricks, but they are easy to pull.